A robot patrolling a parking in California did not call the police after a woman pushed its emergency alert button to report a fight.
RoboCop Fails To Intervene After Fight Breaks Out
Cogo Guebara witnessed the altercation recently in Salt Lake Park. She said that she went up to the HP RoboCop to seek help, pushing its emergency help button to summon the police. However, she was ignored. The 5-foot machine carried on following its preprogrammed path, occasionally reminding people to keep the park clean.
"I was pushing the button but it said, 'step out of the way,'" she told NBC News. "It just kept ringing and ringing, and I kept pushing and pushing."
After realizing that they would not get a response from the HP RoboCop, Rudy Espericuta, who was with Guebara and her children at the time, decided to phone 911. Help arrived 15 minutes later when the fight had already ended.
A woman had to be rolled out on a stretcher and into an ambulance because of a cut she obtained during the altercation.
RoboCop Cannot Contact Police
The HP RoboCop from Knightscope is one of the more than 70 security robots deployed across the United States, patrolling malls, airports, parking lots, and gas stations. The egg-shaped "crime-fighting autonomous data machines" have five cameras that provide 360-degree live video streams that send footage directly to the authorities to monitor activity.
However, right now, there is not much that the robot can do to actually fight crime. According to Cosme Lozano, Huntington Park's chief of police, the HP RoboCop is still on a "trial basis" in the city. Its emergency alert button is not connected to the department's dispatch center, and the officers do not have access to the robot's livestream.
He added that the department has faced technical challenges incorporating the robot into the police force, but he is currently working on enabling its capabilities as soon as possible. In the meantime, he told residents to directly contact 911 in case of emergencies.